Proud mama moment … I can happily say my husband and I have never:
- dreaded bedtime
- dealt with “cry it out”
- experienced bedtime or nap time tantrums
- read books about, or tried “sleep training”
- had to bring our babies into our bed to help them sleep
Really proud mama moment … Since our twin toddlers were 4 months old, we have:
- enjoyed uninterrupted nights of SLEEP!
- babies who nap regularly at daycare and on the weekend with no fussing
- babies who wake in the morning with smiles on their faces
- a few sacred hours of “us time” every night since establishing a consistent bedtime routine
Fear not, twin (and singleton) parents, good sleep doesn’t have to be a dream! I want to share how we’ve gone from Rock-N-Play newborns to toddlers in their own cribs (and room) with everyone in our family catching full nights of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep.
*I am not an expert or medical professional. This post is written from personal experience and is not meant to be used in place of medical advice. Please consult your pediatrician for the latest information on safe sleep practices.
GOOD SLEEPING HABITS HAVE TO BE LEARNED
Let me just start by saying my husband and I are old souls when it comes to protecting our ZzzzZzzz. We love to sleep. So naturally when we found out 2 babies were on the way, we began preparing ourselves to kiss sleep goodbye. We were told over and over that it would be a nightmare getting twins to sleep at the same time, so we had our minds made up that it was going to be a battle from the start. Surprisingly enough, we’ve enjoyed full nights of peaceful slumber since the girls were about 4 months old! Our sleep journey has been a really amazing one so far, and I’m hoping we’ll always have good nights!
Two Rock-N-Play Sleepers Next to Our Bed
We chose to use two Fisher Price Rock-N-Play Sleepers next to our bed when we brought the girls home. It’s a personal choice as a twin mom, whether you’d like for your babies to continue sleeping near each other, or separately. A lot of moms choose to keep them close together, so they’ll use one crib or Pack-N-Play from the beginning. We developed the routine of swaddling them with muslin or flannel blankets at bedtime, and after each of our nursing sessions my husband and I would swaddle them again, lay them down in their rockers, then I would sit on the side of the bed and rock both babies briefly. They would easily go back to sleep, with no fussing or crying!
I chose to start the girls in Rock-N-Plays for a few different reasons.
- Super comfy and cozy
- Snuggles them
- Slightly inclined
- If one baby is crying you can rock him/her without disturbing the other baby. A lot of the time I didn’t even have to pick the fussy baby up (unless it was feeding time) because the rocking motion soothed her back to sleep.
- Easy to transport around the house
- For the first few months we diligently swaddled and re-swaddled the girls in large blankets like these. My husband was the master at swaddling! This definitely helped our girls sleep because of the security, coziness, and less chances of startling themselves awake.
- At around the 2nd month we found velcro SwaddleMe blankets that worked marvelously and were much easier and faster to wrap.
- We loved starting out with this plush little elephant sound machine.
One Crib in Our Bedroom
At around 3 months old, we transitioned the girls to a single crib in our bedroom. We didn’t want them to grow too dependent on their Rock-N-Plays (or physically outgrow them) since we knew our ultimate goal was to have them sleeping in their own, separate cribs in their room. The transition between a cozy Rock-N-Play and a vast, flat crib may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! I started by finding a playful mobile that mesmerized them while they laid flat on their back. Then I put them in their crib for naps to let them start getting used to it. I still swaddled them for security and laid them down while they were drowsy, but still awake.
REMEMBER: If your baby is rolling over, DO NOT swaddle them for safety reasons!
As soon as the girls started getting wiggly (but not rolling over yet), I securely “half-swaddled” them and left their arms free. I didn’t want to stop swaddling all together because it really helped them feel snug and sleep well.
Here’s another tip that has worked well for us- talk to your babies. It might seem silly, but my husband and I always let the girls know what was going on even if they didn’t understand what we were saying. On the first day of napping in one crib together I held them one at a time and pointed to the crib and told them that was where they would be resting and sleeping together from now on. “You both will still be close to Mommy and Daddy, but now it’s time for your big girl crib! And you’ll have each other close by, too.” Who knows if it actually made a difference, but I can tell you with confidence that transitioning from the rockers to a crib was not a problem at all for them!
As soon as the girls showed signs of being able to roll over, it was time to retire their SwaddleMe blankets. At this point they were comfortable sleeping in the crib, but because they were wiggly and squirmy, anything extra needed to be removed for safety reasons. One crib was still big enough and provided plenty of room for 2 wiggly little girls.
2 Cribs in Our Bedroom
Eventually the girls started getting a little too wiggly and began waking each other up. It was time for them to have their own space and they were ready for the next transition to separate cribs. We use small, simple cribs from IKEA that don’t take up a lot of space, so 2 fit fine in our bedroom. The girls were not quite finished with nursing, so I kept them close by until they were almost 1. At bedtime, my husband and I put them down (awake) in their own crib, said goodnight, turned on their sound machine, closed the door and kept the room as dark/quiet as possible.
2 Cribs in Their Nursery
Finally when the girls turned 1, I just felt like it was time for them to move to their own room. We moved their cribs to their nursery and kept all of the other routines the same, so it wasn’t that big of a transition for them. I think this transition was tougher on me because my heart broke just a little when they weren’t by my side all night! Now we PJ them after dinner and a bath, put them down in their own cribs in their room, give them their lovies, turn on their noise machine, say goodnight, and voila! 7:00PM is the Magic Hour around our house!
- Stick to a bedtime routine as soon as possible and your kiddos will start recognizing when sleep is near.
- From the beginning, I put the girls down to sleep AWAKE. We had such a process for nursing that I never really got into the habit of rocking them to sleep, and I’m thankful I didn’t help them get used to that. I also tandem nursed in a chair in our bedroom, so we never introduced them to the tempting treat of sleeping in bed with us.
- With 2 babies, we had to be very intentional and specific about where and when it was time to sleep and I believe this was a big help that started them off on the right path.
- Calm, Calm, Calm! A calm voice telling them it’s bedtime and time to sleep, calm movements as you snuggle before laying them down, calm music/noise, and a calm environment make it nearly impossible for your little one NOT to fall asleep!
- A snuggle lovie works for us and is used only for sleep. The girls automatically grab their taggie blanket and stick their thumbs in their mouths and get ready for sleep when we put them in their cribs. Works like a charm!
- Let dad be a part of bedtime routines, if possible, so they don’t grow too dependent on just mom! Including dad helps babies learn that sleep is an important part of a happy, healthy family.
- We use the “Relax Melodies” app on an iPad as their noise machine. This makes their noise machine portable and goes with us when we travel. We can even turn it on in the truck when we go on long road trips.
- We’ve had great luck with this monitor since we brought the girls home from the hospital a year and a half ago! (We didn’t buy an extra camera and have had no trouble seeing both cribs/girls with just 1 camera.)
- These simple, beautiful (and easy to move!) IKEA cribs have been great from the beginning. These cribs will also transition into toddler beds.
Good luck parents, let us know how your sleep journey is going with your kiddos! We’d love to hear any tips or tricks that have helped you snag some much-needed rest in the comments below!
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